Turning down the heat

No stuff!

Courtesy Chuck Benson


A cool to-do list

Because the choices we make and the products we buy have a direct effect on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that gets pumped into the air, each of us can take steps to curb global warming.

1. Just say NO.  It takes energy to produce, package, and ship goods, so consume less. Fix and reuse what you already have, buy second hand and recycled products—recyclables take 70%-90% less energy to make—and remind yourself that sometimes you can “Just Say No" to stuff.  

2. Be well traveled.  Drive less, but when you do drive, cut down on tailpipe emissions by following the speed limit and avoiding “jack rabbit” starts. Keeping your car well-tuned, your tires properly inflated, and your oil and oil filter clean also helps fuel economy. Whenever possible walk, bike, take a bus, carpool, and combine errands.

3. Think globally, eat locally. Most food travels an average of 1,500 miles before it reaches your table, which translates into substantial amounts of greenhouse emissions. When available, buy locally grown food. When you can’t buy local, buy organic. Although many organic products on supermarket shelves are shipped long distances, organic soil absorbs large amounts of greenhouse gases, which helps to offset the emissions.

compact flourescent

Courtesy wickipedia commons

4. See the light. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, which use only a third as much electricity as a standard incandescent bulb, and last as much as 10 times longer.

5. Cool down. Turn your hot water heater down to 120°F and see your hot-water costs plummet by as much as 50 percent. Adding insulation to your water heater and any exposed pipes can save you and the environment even more.


Couresy morguefile

6. Layer up. Put on a sweater and lower your thermostat. For each degree you lower your thermostat in the winter, you can cut your energy bill by at least 3 percent.

7. Go low-flow. Low-flow shower heads reduce the amount of hot water you use and hence the energy needed to heat it. You'll use half the water and still be squeaky clean.

8. Look for a star. Replacing that old refrigerator, washing machine, or furnace with a more energy-efficient model can significantly cut your energy bill. Look for the Energy Star label, an EPA rating system awarded only to the most energy-efficient appliances, computers, light fixtures and other electrical wonders.

tree house

Courtesy morguefile

9. Branch out.  Because a single tree will absorb up to 2000 pounds of CO2 in its lifetime, plant shade trees around your house. Not only will they absorb greenhouse gas and slash your summer air-conditioning bills.

10. Speak out. Urge your representatives to raise fuel economy standards to 40 miles per gallon and to fund clean, renewable energy. Tell people where you shop and where you work that climate protection matters.



Published March 2007